Monday, November 28, 2011

And They're Off!

Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have managed to live through Thanksgiving (and breaking bread with those family members you wouldn't have anything to do with if you weren't related), got a few bargains (and avoided getting trampled) on Black Friday. So far, so good.

But those two events are only the starting gun for the exhausting holiday season. You've got a long race to run, so we at Believe recommend you take this time (before you have none left at all) to take a deep breath and relax. Light one of our Zum Soy Candles and as you breathe in the lovely and long-lasting fragrance (like Frankincese and Myrrh and Pine) and feel your stress slipping away.

Such aromatherapy has been used for centuries and not always just for stress relief. Aromatherapy uses essential oils—the pure essence of plants—to provide psychological and physical benefits, as well as taking care of your general well-being.

Essential oils that are inhaled (like those found in our Zum Candles) not only trigger a reaction in the brain, but the natural “constituents” supply therapeutic benefits (for example, eucalyptus essential oil can help ease congestion—the natural origin of modern remedies like Vicks VapoRub.)

The Greeks, like the Chinese, Indians and Iranians before them, recognized the medicinal and aromatic benefits of plants. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, practiced fumigations for both aromatic and medicinal benefit and used myrrh (like in Zum's soy candes) for its aroma, anti-inflammatory properties and to heal wounds. An ancient Roman, Discorides wrote a book called De Materia Medica that described the properties of 500 plants.

But it was in the 11th century when essential oils truly began their heyday. A coiled cooling pipe which allowed plant vapor and steam to rise was invented by a Persian named Avicenna. By the 12th century a nun, Hildegard, made lavender famous for its healing properties and when the Black Plague decimated the countryside killing millions, essential oils were used by “the first responders” to stave off the disease. Eventually books were written and knowledge shared (an alchemist named Paracelcus, invented the word “essence”) and during the 16th century, people could buy oils at apothecaries. In fact essential oils and herbal remedies made up most of the medical toolbox until the late 19th century.

In the early part of 20th century, a French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé, was working with essential oils, testing their aromatic use, when he burned his arm badly. He plunged it into the nearest liquid available, which was a vat of lavender oil. The burn healed quickly and with no scarring. He began a study of the healing properties of essential oils and named the procedures aromatherapy.

Here are the seven most popular essential oils in aromatherapy and their uses:
Lavender--is used for relaxation, insomnia, and as a disinfectant, for adding fragrance to linens and delicates, and even for use of scalds and burns.
Eucalyptus--is used to ease mental exhaustion and depression, add energy, treat colds and flu, and help shorten viral infections.
Lemon---is used to relieve stress, anxiety, mental fatigue and tension and also as an astringent and antiseptic. It's good for itchy skin conditions like eczema and also on oily skin. (It even helps cut grease on dishes—just put a drop or two in the dishwater.)
Peppermint--is used for stress, depression, tension and upset tummies and as a stimulant. It will also help clear the sinuses. 

Rosemary--is used to treat stress, help concentration and memory, relieve muscle aches, pains and migraines, ease arthritis, help skin problems (including acne) and even get rid of cellulite.

Tea Tree (Australian)--it is used as an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial oil. It treats acne, sunburn (and other burns) and even helps get rid of warts. 

Ylang ylang--is used as an anti-depressant, sedative, antiseptic (and even aphrodisiac!) It is also good for acne, and oily or irritated skin. It is also considered a hair tonic (to help hair grow) and is even good on insect bites.

There are a few don'ts when it comes to essential oils: They should never be used undiluted on the skin. They should always be applied via a carrier oil like sweet almond, apricot kernel or grapeseed oil, else their powerful concentration can irritate. Don't use the oils if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure (it’s always best to consult your medical practitioner before using anyway) and don't use on kids or pets (essential oils can be toxic to them both.) If you are prone to allergies, it is best to do a patch test first.

But, used properly, essential oils can help you relax and Zum soy candles are a perfect way to bring some of the benefits of aromatherapy into your busy life. May we suggest you use them as the light source around a tub filled with fragrant bubbles? The lovely seasonal fragrances of Pine and Frankincense will whisk you away to a forest in Vermont or the palace of a King.

Let the holiday rush wait a bit and catch your breath now before the Season gets into its full swing. (After you towel off, we here at Believe will even help you get great gifts for everyone on your list.)

Till then, remember to be good to yourself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Counting Our Blessings

Soon will be the day we stop to give thanks and it seems to us at Believe that one day really isn't enough. It will take many days—truly every day—to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.

Another wonderful year is almost behind us and it would not have been so fabulous if it hadn't been for all our awesome (and loyal) customers. You make our jobs interesting, fun and fulfilling and with all the stories you share, you make us feel a part of your families, just as we feel you are part of ours.

We are thankful, too, for all the bounty we have—enough to eat, a great place to work, warm homes with strong roofs—but we are ever mindful that there are lots of people who don't have those advantages...those for whom bad luck or bad health has made their roads rockier. We at Believe are very grateful to be able to share what we have and lessen their burden just a bit.

Thanks to all who helped us support Pink Hair For Hope, The Sullivan Family (in memory of Grace Caeli Sullivan), The Hillside Food Outreach, Tina Gambino, Expressions, Locks of Love, Hope's Door, The Pleasantville Music Festival, The Pinwheel Project, Emma Konrad and PCD, CPD and CF, Westchester Autism Center, The Endometriosis Foundation, Ava-(who is fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia), and the Graj Family Kidney Donation Event this year and please remember to keep giving. (We believe the good you do comes back to you...)

 Personally, I would also like to thank my husband Stewart and my son Koebbe who are always the wind beneath my wings. Polly Hunter, Bruce Rennie and Nadine Mockler who, because of their belief in me and their financial support,
Believe Beauty Lounge became a reality
 this year and please remember to keep giving. (We believe the good you do comes back to you...)

Shannon, the General Manager here at Believe shared some of the things for which she is grateful, too:
  • My parents, who taught me not only to be a good person but instilled in me a wonderful and solid work ethic (do the job, do it well and never quit until it's done.)
  • My boyfriend, Vinny, who is always there for me (even through some tough times) and helps me stay grounded.
  • My boss, Lisa, who teaches me everyday, not only about hair and running a salon, but about life. She has shared lots of invaluable lessons.
  • Thanks, too, to our assistants at Believe, Sarah, Jackie and Alexa who help me keep everything running smoothly and help me pick up the pieces when things get bumpy and everything falls apart.
Shannon and I and all of the staff here at Believe know we are blessed to get to do what we love and work with and for such loving and generous people. We hope you are able to slow down your busy lives enough this Thursday to clearly see your own blessings
and we hope those blessing multiply in the coming year.
Keep every day a day of Thanksgiving.
Lisa, Shannon and the staff at Believe

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shine On!

You may be forgiven if your summer hair gets a little drab, dull and worn out from the sun and salt, but now that autumn is upon us, you've got no excuse for not having hair so shiny it competes with all those holiday lights already popping up everywhere.

First a little lesson in what makes hair shiny. When the cuticle of the hair shaft lies nice and flat, it provides an even surface to reflect light. This smooth outer layer also repels the moisture that causes frizz—a real shine inhibitor.

And here's something you may not have known: Using only moisturizing shampoos and conditioners can actually interfere with the shine of your hair by building up dulling residue on the shaft.

What do to? About once a week, try an acidic finishing rinse after you wash your hair. The acids tighten up that outer layer of cuticle, letting more light bounce off that newly-smooth cuticle, making your hair even more lustrous. You can even whip up a simple acid wash right in your own kitchen. Try one of these rinses:
  • Beer: After shampooing hair and washing out the suds, pour a bottle of beer into your hair and massage it in for a few minutes. Then rinse well with cold water. This beer rinse even helps give your hair body.
  • Lemon Juice: After shampooing and rinsing as usual, mix the juice of a lemon with 1½ cups of water and pour through hair, before rinsing with cold water. Prepare for shine galore!
  • Apples Cider Vinegar: Combine the juice of a ½ lemon (careful—it might lighten your hair a little) with 2 Tbs of the vinegar and 1 cup of water. Massage into hair and scalp and rinse with cool water to correct hair's pH and bump up the shine.
Now that you've gotten the gotten the gunk out, don't forget to put some good stuff in. Come into Believe every month for a deep conditioning treatment to beat winter stress and, once a week at home, apply a deep conditioner or heavy duty mask formulated to boost shine (while protecting the outer layer of hair). MOISTURE MASK BY AGADIR WITH MORROCAN OIL and AESTELANCE MUD MASK and IDEN TREATMENT and all are carried at Believe.

Every two months or so you may want to actually feed your hair by mashing one ripe avocado (use the rest for fresh guacamole--yum!) and mixing it with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. baking powder. Work the mixture through hair. Leave on for 15 minutes, and wash out really well. It will really help you ramp up the shine.

To get a real mirror-like finish (and help that cuticle lay even flatter) use some of the great shine-enhancing products we carry at Believe like AESTELANCE LUSTRE.

The trick to these is to avoid putting the product on the roots (don't go any closer than 1½ inches from the roots) and always apply these products to dry hair. Generally speaking, pomades and waxes are good for thin hair and oils and serums work better on thick or coarse hair—but stop by Believe and we will give you a free consultation about which shine enhancer will work best for you.

Also, when drying hair, aim your blow dryer down the hair shaft, which smooths the cuticle (otherwise air pushes the cuticle up and along comes frizz.) Once your hair is almost dry, hit the cool button to seal the hair cuticle, which will help keep your hair smooth and silky.

The holidays are right around the corner and it is the season to shine! Make sure your hair does it's “part”(get it?)

And be sure to stop by to see us at Believe before any of those big holiday parties. We'll make you a shining star!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cold Winds, Warm Rooms=Dry Hair

Our mothers used to sing us a nursery rhyme that read, “The North winds will blow and we shall have snow, and what will poor robin do then? She'll sit in a barn to keep herself warm with her head tucked under her wing.”
The rhyme kept running through our heads as we watched the unbelievable Halloween snow! But it wasn't just our heads we wanted to tuck was our hair. We at Believe know what those cold winds (and the overheated places we go to get away from them) can do to our hair—dry it right out until it feels (and sometimes looks) like straw in poor robin's barn. That's why we stock products from Agadir International—which contain a miracle substance known as Argan Oil.
Argan Oil comes from the fruits of the native Moroccan Argan tree (Argania Spinosa). Each tree can live up to two centuries! Since getting the oil is a labor-intensive process usually done by women (all the fruits must be shelled and crushed before the oil can be pressed out of them), the precious Argan Oil is one of the rarest oils in the world. But Moroccan women have long known the secrets of the oil and have used it in skin care (and their diets) for hundreds of years.
The oil is high in essential fatty acids including linoleic acid (omega-6) which stimulate intracellular oxygenation, which helps restore the balance between fats and water content in the cells of your hair—often lost in harsh weather. These fatty acids not only help repair the hair, but protect it also. Adding to the wonderful properties, the oil contains high levels of Vitamin E, which is a powerhouse when it comes to neutralizing free radicals and antioxidants in the hair shaft. This makes the oil perfect for regenerating and nourishing dry hair. Aragan Oil is also high in lipids, including omega 9 oleic acid helping nourish, moisturize and improve hair's elasticity—a real boon when you are constantly taking a hat on and off (which breaks hair). Argan Oil even helps cut down on that annoying hair static we all get in cold weather.
The fruit of the Argan tree (sort of a cross between a walnut and almond) produces an oil that is lightweight and not greasy. It has a very low molecular weight, so it penetrates right into the hair shaft without weighing the hair down. It can, therefore, be left in the hair for continuous conditioning. The result? Healthy, shiny, moisturized hair. Another benefit of using products rich in Argan Oil is that you won't suffer from that itchy, dry scalp that the cooler weather brings. The oil even helps stimulate hair growth and helps with those nasty tangles and split ends, too. Argan Oil has been called the “Wonder of the 21st Century” and we, at Believe, have to agree.
All Agadir products are even on sale this week with 20% off. Stop by Believe and try the products we carry that contain this miracle oil. We've got the whole fabulous line. 
 Once you do,we're sure you will stop hiding your head under your wing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grab Life By The Tail

OMG. We read the headline on the web: “Skinny Girl Bethenny Frankel Creates The Skinnygirl Ponytail.”

How it got to be hers, when ponytails have been around as long as –well, ponies—is beyond us, but if you are looking for a stylish solution to get your long hair out of your way, we at Believe, hereby clue you into not only “Bethenny's ponytail”, but some other great ideas, too:

Bethenny's” Tail: Brush out your hair with a paddle brush till smooth. Gather hair at crown of head and secure with an elastic, pushing the tail forward to create a mini-pompadour. Secure with two bobby pins, one on either side of the elastic. Smooth stray hairs at front and spray. Use either a curling iron (in small sections) or a ceramic flat iron on the tail itself.

The Side Tail: Spritz styling spray like SCRUPLES WHITE TEA EMBRACE on small sections of hair and make waves with a curling iron (wide barrel is best.) Use your fingers to sweep waves into a tail on one side of your head. Secure with elastic and use one bobby pin to hold it in place. Use flexible hairspray to avoid a stiff look.

The Messy Tail: Begin with unwashed hair (yes, we mean it. Unwashed hair is more manageable for this style.) Spray roots with volumizer like AESTELANCE VOLUME and let air-dry. Scrunch hair as it dries. Part hair in the middle or off center (or even use a zig-zag part.) Use your fingers to rack your hair back at the nape. Use an elastic to secure the tail (not too tightly) so it sits below the center of the back of your head. Secure with bobby pins above the elastic and crumple the tail itself with your fingers.

The High & Tight Tail: Spritz with volumizing spray like WHITE SAND INFINITY (GOOD FOR STRAIGHT OR CURLY HAIR) Dry straight (use a diffuser if you have curls). Tease a section (at the roots) at the top part of the back of your head to give your hair volume. Brush hair back into tail high on the back of your head above the ears. Secure with elastic. Pull the top of the tail up and out. Put some gloss, like AGADIR MOROCCAN ARGAN OIL through the tail using extra on the ends. Be careful of this one if you have a high forehead. It can make you look bald from the front. Bangs are your friends with this style.

The Pouffed Tail: This one makes use of volume at the crown to give the style (and the wearer) some height. Position your fingers in front of both your ears and pull them straight up. Hold the hair in one hand and use a wide-toothed comb to tease the roots with the other. Spray the roots. Hold till the spray dries. Let go of the hair and smooth into a tail, holding it with an elastic.

The Sleek Tail: Either blow-dry or flat iron your hair straight (this look requires no wave.) Spritz fly-aways at your hairline with spray and brush hair straight back into a tail. Secure with elastic. For extra shine, run a shine serum through the tail itself.

The Junior High Tail: Use mousse like AGADIR VOLUMIZING STYLING MOUSSE or spray for volume as your blow-dry and then pull your hair straight on to the top of your head (above your eyes.) Make sure the rest of your hair is flat to the scalp and sleek. For some more bounce, tease the tail right where the hair meets the elastic. Spray. Cover the elastic with a bow (remember, you are young at heart!)

Tip For All Tails: To cover the elastic in your pony tail styles, pull a strand about the width of a pencil from the bottom of the tail and wrap it around the elastic. Leave two inches to pul down through elastic. Secure with bobby pins

Whichever ponytail appeals to you, stop by Believe to buy the products you need to make each one work (or if you need a little help in finding the perfect ponytail for you.) With your ponytail and the help of us at Believe, you can swing into the cooler weather.